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Aerobic activity raises your heart rate and keeps it up for a while. This increases the amount of oxygen delivered to your heart and muscles. Over time, this kind of activity benefits your heart, your muscles, your mood and self-esteem, and your amount of energy. It can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, body fat, anxiety and depression, and fatigue.
Experts say to do regular moderate activity and/or vigorous-intensity activity.
Here are some ideas for both types of activities. You can boost many of the moderate activities in the left column to a vigorous level by doing them faster or harder.1
House and yard work:
Adding variety to a fitness program is a good way to keep motivated.
If your job includes lots of sitting, try adding these short bursts of activity to your day:
If you are bored with a sport or activity you once enjoyed, coaching or giving instruction can renew your interest.
Competition can be a good motivator because:
Helping to plan or organize a competitive event instead of entering it can provide friendship and fun with others interested in the same activity.
Cross-training is the combination of various activities to spread the work among various muscle groups. Cross-training has some important advantages:
Some exercise machines, such as elliptical cross-trainers, can help you cross-train. Or you can use exercise machines that give variety to your program by working muscle groups that aren't heavily used in your primary activity.
CitationsAinsworth BE, et al. (2011). Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide. Columbia, SC: Prevention Research Center, Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina. Available online: http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/compendium.htm.
Last Revised: October 26, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Heather Chambliss, PhD - Exercise Science
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